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« I Am Not The Enemy | Main | Who's Following Whose Lead? »

November 16, 2008

Comments

J

My best friend from childhood is an adoptee. I always knew her perspective before I knew her parents', I hope this aids me when we bring another baby into this house.

<3 thanks for your wonderful blog. This perspective is all too rare.

Mei-Ling

"I just thought that it was very telling that in this situation, once again, the general focus of interest about adoption seemed to revolve around the adoptive parent."

It often seems like that a lot. It makes me cringe, most of the time, when people react, "Can you imagine that the birthmother MIGHT want to keep her child?!"

I mean, yes, it would be disappointing and heartbreaking. But the "birth" mother is the one who has to experience the heartbreak of giving up her own flesh-and-blood FIRST.

Why does SHE never get sympathy, except for a "bravo, you made the right choice" and once after she's relinquished, she usually ends up being a mere shadow in the background because her "role" as a mother was just to give birth - NOTHING else.

/rant

carosgram

It is very upsetting to me to hear that prospective adoptive parents have no understanding that a mother might want to raise her own child. How can they possibly understand how to love a child if they can't imagine the child's mother loving the child? Even if the mother decides not to raise the child, it doesn't mean she didn't love her. As a society we need to find ways to support mothers who want to raise their children rather than ways to take their children from them. I agree with and support adoption but only when the mother and father of the child do not want or are unable to raise the child themselves. It should be about finding families for children not children for families. When we start feeling entitled to other people's children we need to take another look at ourselves.

Jonathan

I'm an adoptive parent, and I cannot imagine someone feeling that way being found fit to adopt. I don't understand it at all - where does all this entitlement come from with some PAPs and APs?

I do not know my son's Vietnamese parents, but I think often how his mother/father must be heartbroken to not have his wonderful being in their lives. I regularly send pictures directly to his nanny at the orphanage he was in with notes I have translated in hopes that maybe she will receive the information someday.

kimber

I hope you will also pass your blog along into your friend's sister to share even more insightful information.
I am so glad you are posting I again.

Ansley

"I'm an adoptive parent, and I cannot imagine someone feeling that way being found fit to adopt. I don't understand it at all - where does all this entitlement come from with some PAPs and APs?"

Jonathan, I'm not sure if your question was meant to be rhetorical; but I must say I am an adoptive parent and I know far more parents who act the way Paula described than the other way around. I've made my circle of AP friends very small, and I am often frustrated and disappointed when meeting new adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents.

Sometimes I think if these people didn't have a sense of entitlement, they'd have no sense at all.

Wendy O

I agree Ansley, I have found more like them than not. It is always with trepidation that I attend an event or meet someones "friend" because it usually just irritates me--not just at the PAP or AP, but at their agency. I think the only way to change is at the agency level. There are so many misconceptions, misunderstandings, and ignorance in relation to adoption, it has to be put on the agencies to help to weed these people out and/or educate them. Sadly, there seems to be agencies that are setup to cater to these types (I can name a handful right now). Not only are they not stopping these people, but encouraging them; these agencies (not all) have the same savior mentality and absolutely see the first parents as an inconvience to be overcome. These agencies hire social workers who are not independent and are not looking for the best interest of the child--I find this very sad and embarrassing to all of the excellent social workers who find themselves extremely overworked and underpaid in the public sector.

Reform is the only answer; not an easy one as it is hard to stop a corruption machine that has a lot of money churning through it that sometimes take advantage of those who are so desperate for children that they will do anything to get them or that does not care the fitness or attitudes of the PAP's; instead, seeing dollar signs.

Jonathan

No, it's not wholly rhetorical. I honestly do not understand where it comes from. Is it someone's religion? Is it simply getting that approval from a SW that triggers the feeling? Is it just the general upbringing of being told they deserve and are entitled to only good things in life, etc? It's not a feeling I've ever had concerning adoption so I really do wonder exactly where it comes from for most people that do feel it.

I have a very small circle of AP friends - only two of which I know in real life, so the experience I have with parents who feel that way is only online through others' stories.

Mei-Ling

"Is it someone's religion?"

Yes. A lot of die-hard Christians who believe God is whispering to them privately want to believe that God is leading them to their adopted children.

In other words, "God's Will." The red thread of fate. Ladybugs. Etc.

Paula O.

I personally think there are SEVERAL factors at play re: entitlement and inability (for whatever reason) to truly explore and absorb the many different complexities in adoption and how they affect ALL people involved, especially the adoptee and his/her family of origin.

Even without being familiar with the majority of adoption agencies in this country, I have no doubt there are some (and in my opinion, that's one too many) in existance that are not fully advocating for the best interests of the child and to speak to Wendy's point - operate more from a fiscally driven incentive that exploits both children, first families and potential adoptive parents.

That being said, I personally know of several social workers who do their level best to encourage their prospective families to do as much research as they can about how adoption can possibly affect their child, especially one who is transracially adopted. And what I see and hear is that it seems like such a monumental task for many, many parents in process to really be open to the more critical and difficult truths that DO exist in adoption. Someone once made the analogy to me about trying to tell an engaged couple about all of the pitfalls and challenges of marriage the day before their wedding. Sure, they might be listening on some level, but many are going to be so focused on their own big event and think that others experiences probably or couldn't possibly mean that they would encounter the same ones, so really, why entertain the thought all that seriously or deeply - especially when ALL you care about is getting married?

Clearly, there are so many heightened emotions throughout the adoption process - ones that can really cloud the "heavy" stuff that I believe should both occupy and penetrate the minds of all prospective adoptive parents. And yet I am one who fully admits, that even as an adoptee and a current parent, that when I was going through the process, I was often more focused on my own feelings about receiving our son - and how it would affect me - than I was on my son's Korean family. Not to compare, but you can imagine the mindset of some PAPs who have been longing for a child for years and know only from the media, our society and even some agencies about what a win-win adoption is for everyone. They most likely will have a very myopic view of adoption. Some others might be so intent on receiving a child that they won't care one bit about the ethical implications and can justify just about anything so long as they get their child.

I know of so many APs - both in real life and whom I've met through blogging - that have told me that it wasn't until much later after their child's adoption that they were finally in a place to honestly contemplate and critically examine and dissect all of the difficult territories in adoption. . .whether it was attachment, their child's struggle for identity, their respective agencies as it pertained to ethical matters or the APs realization that somewhere, someplace a mother and father were living without their child.

Too often I think these "Ah-ha" moments about adoption don't take place nearly enough. . . and if they do, not always at the right time.

ETA: Please understand that I am well aware of and personally know many other PAPs and APs who are incredibly receptive and even actively seeking to hear all of the different angles of adoption. Just today I received an email from a prospective adoptive parent who is clearly trying to gain as much knowledge and insight from the voices of all those affected by the adoption experience in hopes to become a better parent to her future child.

Rose

Wow.....I'm having a hard time putting my thoughts into words on this one.

Carosgram.....I hate to steal your words but they were my first thoughts exactly.

"It is very upsetting to me to hear that prospective adoptive parents have no understanding that a mother might want to raise her own child. How can they possibly understand how to love a child if they can't imagine the child's mother loving the child? Even if the mother decides not to raise the child, it doesn't mean she didn't love her. As a society we need to find ways to support mothers who want to raise their children rather than ways to take their children from them. I agree with and support adoption but only when the mother and father of the child do not want or are unable to raise the child themselves. It should be about finding families for children not children for families. When we start feeling entitled to other people's children we need to take another look at ourselves"

As a birthmother myself (as well as an adoptive mother) I wonder how could they possibly, truly raise this child with such lack of compassion or understanding for that child's parents (they may not be raising that child BUT they are parents). When we adopted our son I think I was truly focused on just having another child and it didn't matter how I got it....Domestic, International. Selfish......yes...very ...but we were fortunate to have a social worker that spent an enormous amount of time with us educating, really challenged us and made us think about exactly what we were we doing. Part of that I know was because I was a birthmother (it came up many, many times....the feelings, the reactions it would invoke...which it of course did). At the time it seemed like she was questioning our ability to parent.....which i felt was ridiculous. In retrospect I think she was a very informed, awesome advocate for the children. It did make us take a break....do a lot of soul-searching, re-evaluating and educating ourselves before we decided to proceed. I've never shared that with anyone but I honestly think EVERYONE needs this. It's not about me, my husband or my other children. It's about my son and how it will affect him/his birthfamily for his entire life. Everything I beleived in about adoption shifted and changed as it does almost daily. Sometimes the challenges of a transracial adoption/or adoption overwhelm me......make me question EVERYTHING about adoption in general.

Do the best you can Paula......maybe something will sink in or awaken them. It's worth a shot......for that child they may parent.

Mei-Ling

You know, Paula, I remember that at the Yahoo Answers boards I posted a response about loss. And someone else responded on theo boards with a message among the equivalent of, "Why do you keep posting, when some of these people will clearly never 'get it'? Why do you keep trying?"

My answer: Because for every person that will not understand or just plain refuses to want to understand - there is probably another person who DOES want to understand - even if they don't come out and promptly.

So, to echo Rose - KEEP TRYING.

B

Unfortunately Paula this I personally feel is a very legitimate concern for the prospective adoptive parent. Me and my wife are discussing the prospect of adopting after having our "own" children in a couple and we are looking at international vs domestic adoption.

did you know that in some states, a birth mom can actually change her mind and decide to KEEP her baby if she wants? Even after she's already promised to give the baby up? Once my sister and her husband heard that, they were like "no freakin' way" and started looking into international adoption.

I do not agree with the spirit in which that was said. I do however understand the point she was trying to make. I don't like the fact that so many adoptive parents adopt from overseas for this sole reason but I do understand the why.

I'm not saying that people who give up their children should never ever see their children again but I'am saying there should some finality to adoption.

In my home state there was a huge scandal where several adoptive parents were taken to court by birth parents who had lost their children because of neglect and abuse and actually won their cases and got their kids back after the adoptive parents had been caring for the kids for several years.

Any way I know its a complicated environment and one that does not offer ANY clear cut answers.

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